The 28th Avenue Connector

6 thoughts on “The 28th Avenue Connector”

  1. My son-in-law bikes to the Vanderbilt campus daily from north of Charlotte and crosses 28th. He eschews biking on the 1/3 mile, $18M connector because it doesn’t really “connect” him to where he needs to go.

    1. The “Connector” in Nashville was a huge public investment that made a chunk of cheap isolated privately owned land much more valuable. It “connected” public money to private profit. I’m not at all opposed to this sort of thing. I just ask how much bang for the buck the taxpayers got out of the deal. Did that $18M generate more than $18M in new revenue for the city? What was the tangible capture on the public investment?

  2. See also the $18,000,000, 700 ft Gulch pedestrian bridge ( and $20,000,000 Divsion Street / SoBro connector (

    I think there is some value in adding small connectors in Nashville because there are a lot of frustrating man-made obstacles to movement, but yeah jeez the stuff is expensive. Hopefully it was more of a Karl Dean admin thing, Mayor Berry seems, at least so far, more interested in incremental infrastructure improvements (sidewalks were a big deal in the mayoral campaign).

    An anecdote about the 28th avenue connector: I’m about to move to a place where the connector would theoretically be part of bike commuting route for me, but I will almost certainly never use it because Charlotte Ave, the supposed “Music City Bikeway” is a huge mishmash of half-assed painted bike lanes, sharrows, and nothing.

  3. I agree with everything you said but wanted to share my experience that this may be a matter of getting the camel’s nose under the tent. I formerly lived in a city of 100,000 that had a four-lane road (not a highway) that was a major east-west thoroughfare. Through some government grant-funding, the city built a sidewalk along one side of the road. The sidewalk was criticized heavily as the sidewalk to nowhere (that part of the road is under a flight path of a small airport, so nothing can be built on the land next to the road). One man even ran for mayor with his opposition to the sidewalk being a major plank in his platform (he lost). Then people began using the sidewalk for jogging and bicycling (there were no driveways going across the sidewalk, and the area was well-lit and visible as it was next to the road). Then trees were added. A large shopping center (already in the works and past the flight path) and a bus stop were built at the terminus of the sidewalk, so car-free/lite folks may take advantage of that destination. Now the sidewalk seems like a good idea. Perhaps this will be the situation for the connector.

    1. Yes and no. Main points. 1) Scarce government resources were used to boost the value of a select piece of property for the benefit of a very small group of well connected people. 2) The project had the superficial side effect of including some green features, but was in no real way “innovative.” 3) This is a one third of a mile $18M project. How many sidewalks and bike lanes could the city have built for that kind of money if that was actually the goal (it wasn’t.) 4) Land use makes a place walkable and bikeable, not the mere existence of sidewalks and bike paths. Building a highway oriented single use suburban office park is way down the list compared to a traditional Main Street with no green bling.

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